Photo: Flags 7
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: April 28, 2017
Camera & Lens: Sony A7R ii & 24-240mm lens
About This Photo: This post might have been titled “About these” because the topic is not just about the above photo but about all the photos in this post. Shooting stock photography means anticipating trends, I try to shoot trends that are annual in nature and not just popular today but gone tomorrow. Why spend time shooting subjects that are only trendy and only generate money now? Why not shoot subjects that will generate recurring income. It might be a better plan to shoot subjects that will hopefully generate revenue for the long haul and holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas aren’t going away soon. Neither are Veterans, Memorial, Armed Forces and Independence Days, there’s plenty to shoot besides flags by themselves. However, one thing I try to do when possible is shoot the US flag with other subjects in hopes of crossing over in to another genre. The above photo, shot in a marina, could attract buyers who are sailing hobbyist, or enthusiasts, but also people who like the southern California or SoCal vibe. What I like about this photo is that it’s not overtly patriotic, the flag is such a small part of the overall photo. Aside from the boats and marina as subjects, the water and wind play a role as well.
Advertisers start gearing up for these patriotic holidays not long after we’ve put the Christmas trees away. The above photo, taken in April, started selling almost immediately as it was taken in time for the patriotic holidays. However, most photos taken during an actual holiday won’t likely sell until following year, like I said, advertisers gear up early and by April most ad campaigns for the holidays are likely winding down. All the photos in this post have been top sellers. The below photo, top left, with the tuba was taken at a Navy Band Southwest performance in San Diego, CA. Hopefully this photo would appeal not only toward those looking for patriotic photos, but also by military folks as there is a sailor in the reflection on the tuba. Also, musicians in general may like this, maybe music stores having a 4th July sales. It goes without saying that the below, top right photo, could summon emotions from September 11th but could attract buyers in the law enforcement community as well. The photo at the very bottom was taken at a car show in Haymarket, VA and is one of several flags with classic cars taken that day. Obviously, looking toward not only car enthusiasts but also people looking for something retro in nature.
What is the point of this post? Well, if you’re taking the time to go out and shoot, spend time editing photos, consider shooting cross genres if you can! That one day at the car show in Haymarket, VA yielded not only some great car shots but also decent patriotic themed photos as well. When I started shooting stock photography a few years ago, I would set out with a goal to shoot one subject only and had blinders on the to rest of what was around me. My whole approach is different now, keeping in mind that these flag photos may be the real money makers. Car shows, flower shows, air shows and other events can also be great locations for patriotic stock opportunities. The lesson here is that patriotic photos such as these sell, sometimes a lot, and can generate income year after year. If you’re already traveling somewhere to shoot stock at an event, why not take some photos of the US flags and their surroundings if you’re already there? You never know, they just might sell more than the photos you originally came to shoot.
A US Navy Band performing in Southern California.
A New York City Police Officer standing in Time Square at the lighted American flag sign on the Armed Forces Recuiting Center.
The wind blowing an American flag over a classic American fifties car at a Virginia show.